Composites Research Group

Composites Manufacturing 

The composites manufacturing research theme is based on activities in areas of:

  • Liquid moulding technologies for out–of-autoclave manufacturing processes
  • Automation of manufacturing processes to reduce touch labour
  • Processes with reduced cycle time for high volume manufacturing
  • Improved structural performance via higher-quality composite components




Projects involve partners from the automotive, aerospace, wind energy and medical sectors.

Research projects

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites

“Underpinning the development of next generation composites manufacturing processes based on low cost, short cycle times, efficiency and sustainability”The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Composites (CIMComp) was set up in June 2011 following funding of £5.2 million over 5 years awarded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) for the development of a national centre of excellence in fundamental research for composites manufacturing.


Advance Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative - ProPound

Project: ProPound

Principal Investigator: Peter Schubel

Co-Investigator: Nick Warrior

Sector: Aerospace

ProPound unites two cross-sector industry leaders with innovation from academia and the composites industry to drive down manufacturing cost, energy usage and process time in the production of lightweight high-end out-of-autoclave infused thermoset carbon composite products.


Composites Innovation Cluster

Principal Investigator: Nick Warrior

Sector: High-Value Manufacturing

The Composites Innovation Cluster (CiC) Project was proposed by Cytec, Composites UK & Axillium Research in response to the demand signals of all UK industry sectors. CiC brings Academics, Suppliers & Primes together with the strategy of the National Composites Centre & is endorsed by the National Skills Academy to support the delivery of a nationally connected network of composite knowledge & technology providers to address the market failures facing composites for high value manufacturing applications in the UK.


Advanced Composite Integrated Structure (ACIS) – Radical Train

Programme: Radical Train

Funder: RSSB

Date: May 2014 – May 2015

Principal Investigator:Mike Johnson

Co-Investigator: Udayanga Galappaththi

Radical Train - Feasibility Aim: To develop a ‘radical train’ that will offer a measurable step change in performance of train systems on GB railways.

Solution: The Advanced Composite Integrated Structure project will develop will develop composite components for train carriages. The use of composite materials in the manufacture of rail vehicle structures can provide significant mass savings. Lighter rail vehicles can lead to a reduction in both energy usage and track damage, as well as increases in acceleration and braking performance Phase One is to understand the current use of the technology, identify the commercially viable opportunities in rail vehicles, and develop an industry roadmap.

Affordable Technologies for Lightweight Automotive Structures (ATLAS) – Transport iNET

Funder: INET

Principal Investigator: Nick Warrior

Design of preforms for - High Pressure - Resin Transfer Moulding (HP-RTM)

EngD Studentship: Design of Preforms for HP-RTM

Principal Investigator: Nick Warrior

Sponsor: Jaguar Land Rover

Airbus Composite Wing Cost Model

Principal InvestigatorThomas Turner

Sponsor: Airbus Operations Ltd

Transport iNET: Fire-Resistant Biocomposites for Low Environmental Impact Mass Transit

Principal Investigator: Peter Schubel

Sponsor: Transport iNET

The huge rise in interest in sustainability has meant that there is now significant interest from transport OEMs (in all forms of transport) in high-performance biocomposite (natural fibre and bioresin) materials. Initial tests have shown that furan resins, derived from hemicellulosic agricultural wastes, have the potential to meet the fire and performance requirements of mass transport applications and provide an exciting alternative avenue to the use of traditional oil based resin systems.

The aim of this project is to develop a new sustainable material manufactured from renewable resources, with the structural, temperature and fire performance needed for applications in transport. The project results are to be exploited within the mass transit sector, where the bespoke resins and composite systems will be used to make lightweight, fire-resistant panels and components for buses, trams, trains and aircraft. Subsequent exploitation is expected to be in areas such as transport infrastructure (such as walkways, platforms and structural beams).

Affordable Lightweighting through Pre-form Automat (ALPA)

Project Manager: Justyna Gajda

Funder: Innovate UK


With the ever more stringent requirements on improved fuel efficiency and CO2 emission reduction for road vehicles, a key enabling technology is the use of advanced composite materials to significantly reduce the mass of vehicles on the road. Life cycle analysis has shown that approximately 15% of total CO2 emissions results from material and parts production, assembly and disposal. The remaining 85% of the CO2 is emitted during operation and driving. The lighter the vehicle is, the less fuel is burnt and the lower are the CO2 emissions. A 10% reduction in vehicle mass improves fuel consumption by 7%, and every litre of fuel saved reduces CO2 emissions by 2.6kg. Advanced carbon fibre composite materials have higher strength to weight ratios, better chemical and heat resistance and greater design flexibility when compared to conventional automotive construction materials.

A consortium, led by an automotive OEM, with partners including a material supplier, high value manufacturing catapult centres and an academic institution, aim to develop technologies that will significantly reduce the cost of utilising these advanced materials in vehicle structures, a traditional barrier to date. Through a combination of reduced material wastage and automated pre-form manufacture, these technologies will have a significant impact on the cost of resin transfer moulded composite components. Not only will they be of benefit to the automotive industry, but also to other industrial sectors such as wind energy, sporting goods and aerospace.

RCUK Research project


Composites Research Group

Faculty of Engineering
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG9 5HR

contact: Prof Nick Warrior